Our Side is Better Team Building Game
Our Side Is Better is a team building activity that showcases the behavior patterns of teams and the dynamics therein. Our Side Is Better explores assumptions and highlights critical-thinking and the benefits of social awareness.
Benefits of Our Side Is Better Team Building
- Passive yet thought-provoking
- Focuses on assumptions
- Encourages critical-thinking
- Promotes social awareness
- A piece of long rope or tape
Our Side is Better How To Play
Take a long piece of rope, about 10 metres long, and lay it out on the ground. Divide the group into two and have each smaller group stand on either side of the rope, opposite each other. You can make them Team A on one side and Team B on the other side.
Inform everyone that you are going to explain the objective of the activity to them only once. Once explained nobody is allowed to ask any questions, which makes it challenging for the group. Before you begin, ensure that you tell everyone to respect each other all throughout the activity. The group must, therefore, be aware of and appreciate everyone’s emotional, physical and mental well-being.
You should have the group’s undivided attention by now, with all these cryptic instructions. Continue to explain further, inform them that the rope should be seen as fixed and can therefore not be moved at any time.
Cleary lay out the objectives for ‘Our Side is Better’:
- Those members of the group standing on the left-hand side of the rope, or Team A, must try to acquire as many members from the opposite side, or Team B, to come over the rope and stand on their side. The opposite group, Team B, must do the same, acquire members from Team A.
- Very important: the objective, as explained above, must be completed as fast as possible.
Once you have explained, inform them that no questions are allowed once you shout out the word ‘Go’. Let teams have about 10 minutes to strategize and come up with a solution to the problem, this may take a bit longer for some groups.
Importantly, give enough time for groups to act as well as react to the different behaviours they each display. Also, allow enough time for groups to reflect and process their experience of the activity. See questions below under Reflection, tips and strategies.
Groups have been given an objective and need to realize that it is not a competition, rather the entire activity can easily be solved in a few seconds if both teams just work together. But, in most cases, it takes longer, as members view the exercise as a competition and therefore don’t see the result as a co-operative solution. Read through the leadership tips to gain a better understanding of this.
Our Side Is Better Useful Framing Ideas
The following activity is very easy and can be completed in a few seconds. There is one thing that may hinder your progress, competition. Let’s see how the activity turns out?
See each side of the rope as different countries, each group on the opposite side. Each group loves their country and would like others to come and stay with them. Each side wishes to attract as many members from the opposite side as possible. The team that can attract the greatest number of people to their side, will win.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Our Side Is Better
- Place a rope, which can be 5 to 10 metres on the ground within your activity area.
- Divide your group into two teams, have one group stand on one side of the rope, and the other group on the opposite side, facing each other.
- Inform groups that you will only tell them the objective of the activity once, after which no further questions are allowed.
- Ask groups to respect each other at all times during the activity, emotionally, physically as well as mentally.
- The rope that is the boundary, is set and is not allowed to be moved in any way.
- Begin, by informing the group about the objective. Each team must try and attract as many people from the opposite team to their side. This must be accomplished in the fastest time possible.
- Groups will either complete the task quickly or take longer to finish.
- Make sure to leave enough time over, so groups can reflect on their experiences.
Our Side Is Better Practical Leadership Tips
You can also use chalk or tape to lay down a boundary line, or if you have access to a sporting court, you can use the lines already provided. If you find yourself in a sandy area, simply draw a line through the sand. The point is to simply have two clear sides available for teams.
To have a competitive drive is a good thing, but when does it become a liability? Do we view everything as some type of competition, to win at all costs? This activity will demonstrate that to successfully complete this task, all members must work together and cooperate with each other. This brings us to the next point…
The key to solving the problem! The solution is easy, each team has to simply swap places with each other. Teams need to step over the line and swap places, which will take only a few seconds to achieve.
During reflective time, it can be quite amusing to hear what people did or did not do, in order to reach their objective. The reasons behind their decisions are also important and very interesting to hear.
Since this activity can elicit some competitive behaviour, make sure to keep an eye of groups for excessive physical moves, such as hauling opposite team members over the line. This is why it is important to make sure everybody understands and agrees to respect others during the activity. Everyone should keep to the safety guidelines set.
Observe teams and their behaviour, as they attempt to attract opposite team members over to their side. Also, pay attention to those members who are not interested in moving over to the other side. There will be a lot of fruitless and ineffective behaviours that brings to light the competition mentality and how this is sometimes a liability and can delay progress. You will also notice some positive behaviour and exchanges amongst the participants.
The activity can sometimes go on for too long because members are focused on competing with each other. If this is the case, you can ask them some questions, which can help them to reach their goal.
- Rethink the objective of the activity
- Consider how many people you need from the opposite side, on your side in order to win?
- Is there some type of penalty or risk involved if members from the opposite team come over to your side?
- Do you think there is another solution? Something that involves teamwork and cooperation, instead of competing with each other?
Here are some popular variations:
- Loyal Countries: Inform members of each group on opposite sides of the boundary line, that each side is a separate country. Continue explaining that each country represents everything of the best and that the land on each side must be protected and preserved. By using this framing idea, see how much each group’s loyalty to their side affects their behaviour.
- There are many other problem-solving activities and games, such as ‘Hip Tag’
Reflection Tips & Strategies of Our Side Is Better
Here are a few questions to ask groups, which will help them to process their experience of playing the game ‘Our Side is Better’
- Explain your teams thought process?
- What was your understanding of the goal or objective of this exercise? Did you make any assumptions?
- What were your assumptions?
- Describe your team as well as the opposite teams’ behaviours during the exercise.
- Did your team come up with multiple solutions and how did everybody respond to these solutions?
- Was there any trust involved and did this affect your actions?
- Do you think there is a reason why the more competitive behaviour was more prominent?
- What lessons can this teach us about teamwork and cooperation?
The most prominent behaviour in most cases involves trying to win. Somebody has to win, and somebody has to lose, which will bring in trust issues on both sides. Only in exceptional cases, will you come across groups who understand they need to cooperate in order to complete the exercise successfully. Only collaborative teamwork and working towards a mutual goal will each team reach their objective.